Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Almost Gone

Well the grass is cut and most everything is ship shape around Dogpound North, so Friday we will hit the road north to Miss Ella’s birthday celebration and then it is southbound and down. We are heading into the furnace that holds Dogpound South.

Today we took the rig up to Red Deer, we are having a few minor issues looked at while we are gone, so we are without our home right now. Seems strange to be in the big house with all this space but none of our familiar stuff around us. We are pretty fortunate to have our exit plan already set up but I still wonder what I have left in the rig that I won’t be able to live without for the next couple of weeks.

As for blogging material I am afraid we don’t have anything exciting to report, unlike Rod and Deb who are doing a bang-up job of sharing their explorations of Washington D.C., and Dee is touring around Canada’s capital, and Al is doing his usual great job of keeping us entertained with his photo’s and insights into his own world down there in Bayfield. Ed and Marilyn are moving forward after their devastating fire and have just today acquired a new Mobile Suites 5er to restart their trek to Colorado for the summer. Rollie and Gina are visiting with Mike and Janna in Montana, while Pat and Mike are enjoying their new trike in the Black Hills. And of course Rick and Paulette are home on Vancouver Island where Rick is working hard to keep the blogosphere up to date on technical issues, and Ivan and Hailey are sneaking out of the Alberta foothills to see bits and pieces of Western Canada. Now I am not going to recap everyone's whereabouts but there are a lot of folks enjoying the cooler weather in the northern states and migrating towards the Escapade in Gillette that Bob and Molly are the chief hoogama’s for. So any of you along I-15 keep your eyes peeled for our little black truck as we will be flying a little low heading south.


A view south off the lawn of Dogpound North, those specks are our horses enjoying that tall grass.

We are planning on just popping in on the place down south and then heading back up to see the Grand Canyon and work our way through eastern Utah and Wyoming and then into Montana on the way home. We are planning on visiting with Old WR, whose working in Vernal, Utah and then stopping and seeing that beautiful country around Mike and Janna’s in south central Montana.


Sunset through some of that Northern Alberta smoke and a few Southern Alberta clouds.

Oh and I wouldn’t want to forget that Dortha down in Fort Worth is having a birthday today so Happy Birthday Dortha.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Company at Dogpound North

We have been having fairly nice weather around here the last few days. No I don’t mean it has stopped raining but it has certainly slowed down a little. We are actually seeing a little sunshine on most days and although it is not drying up as quick as I would like it is great to see the sun from time to time.

Since my last entry I had the horse trailer up to Red Deer to get a couple of cabinets installed in the living quarters and then a visit in town with my Dad the next day. Other than that we have been mowing grass and cleaning up things around the place. Seems like there is an endless supply of “stuff” here that needs to be relocated to the dump. Only thing to do is start somewhere and work your way out, so that is what I have been up to.

Friday morning while I was relocating stuff I got a text message from our daughter Rebecca saying her and Ved were on their way to the farm to camp out with us. That exciting news got Brenda working on a menu for the weekend so we are in for some good eating, not unusual around here, but I am sure there will be some special things that just plain old “John Brown” may not have got on his own.


Ved and Bec arriving at the farm

Friday was the day our granddaughter Claire was to come out to have a visit with Grandma and Grandpa, before leaving for 3 weeks or a month at the lake, so late in the afternoon I ran into the city to pick her up at her Mom’s house after school. I picked up a few things at the grocery store on the way so we have all the things you need to have a campout on hand now. Smokies, Smore’s and Shrimps. We are planning on having Shrimp Taco’s for lunch Saturday and much to our chagrin the seemingly endless stock of Shrimps that we have acquired from the Gulf of Mexico has been depleted and we had to purchase some frozen ones, at a price that would make our southern neighbours shudder.

Although the rain made appearances from time to time throughout the evening we did manage to sit out around the fire for a good long time, and get some Smores eaten. Oh by the way Rebecca is at 31 weeks and counting, and I really do mean counting the time till she is due with our newest grandson. Coincidentally Labour Day and her due date are one and the same.


Saturday dawned bright and sunny so we had most of the day to enjoy another nice Alberta summer day around the campfire while Claire made us some brownies and Brenda whipped up a rhubarb custard pie. Boy when you put those two together you have a combination to die for. I think I have discovered my new favourite desert.  While all that cooking was going on Ved and I managed to resolve a lot of the worlds problems sitting around the fire.


Above is a picture of Claire and her Dad’s little pup, Mack, and below are Ved and Becky’s two pups, Nico on the left and Milo on the right. And for those who are wondering Ved gave Meg a little exercise chasing a stick so she is happy to have the company around.


Next week is shaping up to be a “get ready” type of week, Friday we are up to Rocky Mountain House for Miss Ella’s second birthday, it is a big holiday in this family and there are sure to be fireworks and I think the whole country is taking the day off to celebrate. Oh, coincidentally that is also Canada’s birthday, but that is not such a big deal for us. Then bright and early next Saturday we are heading off with just our pickup for Dogpound South. That will be the first time we have left home without our home in a couple of years, but we are hoping to make a flying trip into that scorching climate and get out quick while having a look around through Eastern Utah and part of Wyoming on the way home. Call that fair warning Mike and Janna, you guys are on our must stop list, right up there with the Grand Canyon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Aboriginal Day

In Canada, June 21, signifies not only the summer solistice but also a day set aside to celebrate our Aboriginal People and their heritage. So although family history tells me that there is some Aboriginal blood in my veins it is a long time ago and lost in the mists of time. So without going into a long dissertation of all those connections I can lay claim to being a full blood Canadian, if you believe Canada is a melting pot of the world. Some of my family came over here 10,000 years ago and then kind of hung around enjoying the landscape until the rest came to join them in the last few hundred years.

Over the last few days we have been busy getting ready for our trip to Arizona in early July. They tell me it is a 112F down there right now so we will probably just slip in, drop our stuff, and head north again. We are hoping to do a little sightseeing as we come north. Folks tell me there is a kind of cool canyon in northern Arizona that rivals our Stikine River in NW British Columbia. Is it just coincidence that these great spots are smack dab in the middle of First Nations territory, in Arizona the Grand Canyon is in "Hualapai" meaning "people of the ponderosa pine" as well as the Havsuw’ Baaja (Blue Water People[1]), or more commonly the Havasupai, are an American Indian tribe that has called the Grand Canyon its home for at least the past 800 years. I stole that last bit out of Wikipedia and the links should lead you back there. And Canada’s Grand Canyon on the Stikine River is right at the heart of Tahltan territory. Brenda and I have been to the Stikine many times so we have a shot of that,

Stikine 20

and although it looks pretty narrow here, you can’t believe how narrow it looks at 60 mph in a helicopter 6 feet off the water. Hopefully next month we will have a shot or two of Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

Over the last few days we have been in and out of our rain showers but Saturday my niece Caron and I managed to get in a short ride around here between showers. Then Brenda and I ran down to Caron’s barn to see her new project, Jager, he is a three year old Warmblood, I believe a Hanoverian, which I think is German for tall. Just for reference Caron is 6 feet tall. He is over 16 hands now and still has lots of time to grow.



Then Sunday I ran into town to meet my brother and Dad, it was Fathers Day, at a soccer game that my youngest niece was playing in. She is pretty focussed and made a lot of great plays, while we were there. I had to use a pretty fast camera speed just to get her stopped so the shot wasn’t blurry. Good game Rem!


After the game and lunch at brother Brent’s it was time to head back out to the farm.

Once of the benefits of rain, other than the green landscape is of course rainbows and I got a few shots of them around the place.


Who knew that the end of the rainbow would be in our dumpster. Mack is going up to check it out.


And the double one above is just Down the Road from Dogpound.

Today was a beautiful day here and as usual on beautiful days it was time to get some stuff done outside. Washed both trucks and the horse trailer and then got busy with the lawn mowers and the trimmer.

Now another byproduct of that rain is our little friends the mosquito’s. Now they seem to like Brenda a little better than me so I just need her in the area and I am A-OK. But there are a bizillion of them around right now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another day at Dogpound North

Another few days gone by and not a whole lot done. We have our place seeded except for about 10 acres that is to wet, and the rain the past few days isn’t helping that but it is what it is and the bulk of the seed is benefiting from the rainy weather. Over the weekend my Dad was out to the farm and working on thinning out some of his treasures that are here at the farm. It was a productive weekend from that perspective and I have a truck load of stuff for the Thrift Store. Here is a shot of Dogpound North from out near our grain bins. The house with the green roof is my son Matt’s and the one in the foreground is Dad’s old house. You can’t see the motorhome as it is in it’s spot to the left.


Today was a medical day as my friend Rod in Kansas calls them, I just love laying in that culvert, they call an MRI, for an hour and a bit while they try to determine if my heart is still beating or not. Today they asked me to participate in another study and that added an additional 15-20 minutes to the regular time. Good thing they don’t charge by the hour for that machine, as it was a part of the regular medical system here it cost me $7.00 for parking and that was it. A far cry from the almost $800.00 that going the private route cost for my knee, oh, but I didn’t have to pay parking there…lol.

Today the truck came to haul last years barley out of here. It is heading down to make some feeders fat around Picture Butte, in southern Alberta. Sorry all you beer drinkers, Alberta Beef is more important right now, or we will all end up eating this stuff Deb, who used to write a blog, ferretted out on the internet.


With any luck he will be back for the second load later tonight and we will have got all of last years production to market. Yep the shot below is the final load and our bins are empty, just waiting for that rain cloud in the background to get this years crop growing.


As usual although I have been pretty lazy Brenda is working up a storm around here getting things in shape. She finally got enough sunshine to let her bring out her favourite toy, yep a pressure washer, and clean up the deck and the driveway, and I did manage to get the outside yard mowed and also Matt’s yard before the rains predicted for tomorrow settle in for a few days.


I saw that Ivan over at Roadtrip 2010 was out to the Yaha Tinda showing a friend around, I hope you swore him to secrecy Ivan so he doesn’t tell everyone about that little bit of heaven. He didn’t find us out there as our ponies and us are hard at work battling the grass growing around here and haven’t found time to head west this month.


Another couple of weeks and we will be running down I-15 heading for Dogpound South.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Weather Break

For the last 40 days and nights it has been raining non-stop here at Dogpound North. Well maybe not quite that long but it sure feels like it. Tuesday there was a little break in the downpour and we got some fertilizer spread over the farm here. Luckily they come to do it with a Low Ground Pressure rig so he managed to get it spread even in the low spots that still have a little water laying about. Toward the end of the video you get a shot of one of those low spots.

Once the fertilizer was spread it was time to get some seed in the ground. In this part of the country Timothy Hay is the big crop and we have been in between hay crops on about half of our place for the last couple of years so this year we are seeding it back to hay with a nurse barley crop over top. That will mean next year our spring work will consist of floating and fertilizing both jobs which are not so weather dependent. We don’t actually farm our own land we have a neighbour who share crops it so he was busy out there the last couple of days getting it seeded back down and then harrowing it and finally rolling it. Just like a lawn but I am sure it won’t take those moles (pocket gophers) long to get it all lumped up again.


That misty kind of stuff floating in front of the land roller and tractor is a substance that down in Arizona we would call dust but it has been a while since we have seen any of it here at Dogpound North. There are still 6 or 8 acres that were to wet to seed so we are hoping that over the next week or so we will get a little drying trend going so that we can get those final acres back in crop.

Other than all the excitement of getting our land back into production we have been having a pretty laid back week. Yesterday we headed into town though and took in the Cirque de Soleil equine extravaganza Cavalia. They don’t want a bunch of psuedo photographers trying to capture an Oscar winning movie so they ask that you refrain from video or photography and knowing just how hard it sometimes is to get a horse to do some things I respected that wish. You can imagine what might happen with a flash going off in your eyes just as you leave the horses back on a jump. I did find this video on the internet that shows some of the highlights and those of our readers with high speed connections should enjoy it but those of you with dial-up may want to skip the pleasure.

If in your travels you stumble across this troupe and like horses at all this is a great show. The tickets are pricey but well worth the money I thought.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What’s Up at Dogpound North

Folks in the blogging world seem to be settling into their summer routines, some are traveling to cooler places and others are back home visiting with friends and family. Us we are here at Dogpound North enjoying the early spring weather. That’s right I said early spring. Although the summer solstice is right around the corner it appears that the weather Gods have not got the message yet. We are still in the middle of those April showers. The leaves are starting to make an appearance now but I am thinking we may skip right over the May flowers and go straight to our June rains. Now Alberta can be a pretty dry place so it seems almost sacrilegious to speak badly about a little moisture but it would be nice to get our crop seeded sometime before harvest time.

On the good side we do have half the place seeded down to hay so that is ready to start growing just as soon as the weather warms up a little. But we are still getting frosts on most nights and that is not conducive to a lot of growing taking place.

Enough on the weather, the last week has been consumed with getting our grass under control and waving goodbye to Matt as he heads for Albania on a work assignment. You can catch his adventures over there on his new blog here. As for the grass well apparently it isn’t affected by the lack of sunshine or heat and the moisture is driving it to over achievement. I think I have mowed three times the past week, and those who have been here know that mowing is an all day job around Dogpound North. We have a fleet of mowers here that rivals many golf courses and during a day of mowing we will use them all. For the lawn around the house we use a John Deere 525, on the left, complete with a grass bagging system. This mower does a great job of that manicured lawn and although it is pretty finicky I find it well worth the extra time it takes to get it done nicely.


For some of the edging and close in work Brenda uses her Craftsman push mower, in the centre and for everything outside of the house yard we bring out the Diesel John Deere F935. It is a great mower for the wide open spaces and sure helps keep the grass along the road and around the barn yard under control. It also has a hydraulic deck lift so it is a lot handier for the rough country and places that are less manicured. And for those days when a summer flurry comes in unexpectedly it has a heater and windshield wipers.

Start to finish it takes about 6 hours of steady mowing and probably $40.00 worth of fuel to keep the grass from taking over the place and in the heavy growing season of June and early July it is a semi-weekly job. Good thing I am retired.

And just for good measure we rotate the horses through a lot of the outside yard to help with both grass control and fertilization Smile.